Echinacea purpurea 'Red Knee High' 

Red Knee High echinacea    Perennial of the Month-- December 2013 Perry caricature

(eh-kin-aa' cee-ah  pur-purr' ee-ah) (pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)

Common name:  Red Knee High coneflower

Family:  Asteraceae, Aster

Height x width: 12-24in. x 12-18in.

Growth rate, habit: moderate, short upright compact 

Foliage: lance-shaped (lanceolate) to 3in. long and under one in. wide, coarse with stiff hairs, hairy (ciliate) edges, alternate, simple, often clasp the stem

Flowers:  bright red-purple ray flowers ("petals") fading pink with age, reflex with age, golden cone (disc flowers); flower head to 2.5in. wide; long bloom (mid July to mid Sept. in Vermont)

Hardiness: USDA zones 3-8

Soil:  average, well-drained, tolerates dry once established

Light:  full sun best, tolerates part shade but less growth and flowering 

Pests and problems:  none significant

Landscape habit, uses:  borders, meadows, native gardens, wildlife gardens (bees, birds, butterflies), cut flower; combines well with other coneflower cultivars, Shasta daisy, Rudbeckia, daylily, Russian sage, black-leaved snakeroot, ornamental grasses

Other interest: selected as a branch mutation from a population of 'Kim's Knee High' in a wholesale nursery (Sunny Border, CT) in August, 2005 by Marc Laviana; differs from 'Kim's Knee High' with redder flowers and cones golden not reddish; deer resistant but not woodchucks and rabbits; very attractive to butterflies, bees, birds in fall (seeds, especially goldfinches);, genus name from prickly lower stem resembling a hedgehog (Latin echinos), genus is popular for medicinal use from vitamin C supplement to colds to other attributed uses, good cut or dried flower (cone); good winter effect

Other culture:  removal of spent flowers may improve appearance and in warm climates result in rebloom, but removes seedheads for birds; may need division in spring every 4 years or so

Propagation:  commercially by licensed propagators, PP20,411; home gardens by division

Sources:  many online and local specialty nurseries

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